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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Soil Sulfate-Sulfur and Growth Responses of Nitrogen-fertilized Douglas-fir to Sulfur


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 52 No. 4, p. 1141-1147
    Received: July 9, 1987

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. John Blake ,
  2. S. R. Webster and
  3. S. P. Gessel
  1. School of Forestry, 108 M. White Smith Hall, Auburn Univ., Auburn, AL 36849-4201
    Lewis County Extension Office, P.O. Box 708, Chehalis, WA 98532
    College of Forest Resources, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA 98905



Two studies were conducted to determine the growth response of N-fertilized Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] to S supplements. The relationship between response and soil SO4-S extracted with Morgan's solution, 1.22 M NaOAc + 0.53 M HOAc (pH 4.8), was used to establish critical levels for S. Douglas-fir seedlings were grown in the greenhouse in the surface mineral layer (0 to 0.15 m) of 20 forest soils from western Washington and Oregon. On the average, significant increases in total dry weight (17.5%), stem diameter (10.1%), and height (6.9%) occurred when soils were fertilized with N and S in comparison to N alone. Using the Cate-Nelson procedure, growth responses to N and S were most likely to occur when soil SO4-S was below 14 mg S kg−1. Twenty eight installations were established in the field containing five N treatments, three rates of N as urea, and one plot of 336 kg N ha−1 with P, K, Ca, and S. Differences in percent basal area growth between N alone and N with P, K, Ca, and S were significantly related to soil SO4-S. Over the initial 5-yr period, response over N alone was improved by 74% when soil SO4-S was <20 mg S kg−1. When the N with P, K, Ca, and S plots were retreated with only N and S, response over the next 3 yr was more than doubled compared with N alone. Identification of S responsive stands was improved by the inclusion of stand age weighted subsoil SO4-S concentrations.

Research reported was sponsored by the Weyerhaeuser Co. and the Sulfur Inst. of Canada as part of the senior author's Ph.D. dissertation.

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